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(WWLP) – Teachers and home educators used coping mechanisms to balance their psychological well-being and responsibilities as mothers.

Teacher fatigue and stress have increased due to the pandemic, with the added pressure of juggling family life. Mental Health America (MHA) says that if you’re feeling fatigued and unengaged, there’s a good chance it’s related to trauma, secondary traumatic stress, or battle fatigue. Teachers are often devoted to taking care of others, but without prioritizing their mental health, stress levels remain high. The health of teachers is linked both to student achievement and the stability of schools.

An instructional leadership specialist for English Language Arts at Indian Orchard Elementary School, who is also a mom, told 22news about how she manages her dual role. Karin Shatos said, “having boundaries, setting my work hours beyond the school day but still within a manageable time so that I didn’t feel like I was working all the time. For example, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then maybe a quick check of email later in the evening. Or dedicating one late evening and then not working on the weekends.”

How teachers can focus on their mental wellbeing, according to MHA:

  • Set boundaries early on and hold them 
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Move your body
  • Stay in touch with friends and family 
  • Keep up with the self-care 
  • Maintain reasonable expectations

Those who homeschool their children may find their days unpredictable due to fluctuating stress levels and uncertainty of what tasks to complete next. According to MHA, a developed routine can help to adjust your mindset, and stress levels, and less anxious on rougher days.

MHA recommends developing a routine based on the following:

Adjusting Your Mindset Reduce Stress with a Routine Plan for Rough Days
Get support from other parents and homeschool teachers Outline a rough schedule for each day. Identify the root of your child’s problems as they arise.
Remind yourself why you’re homeschooling in the first place Divide your day into large blocks instead of specific classes. Write a list of calming activities for yourself and your children. 
Practice gratitude on a daily basis with your household Give yourself more time than you actually need for lessons.  Calm your child down before disciplining them. 
Adjust your expectations on a day-to-day basis Multi-task if you’re caring for more than one child.  Practice mindfulness as you go through the week.
Switch up your teaching style if your kids aren’t interested Be flexible with your daily routine and have time to unwind Ask friends and family for support if you need it.
MHA ways for coping with the stress of homeschooling.

“While it can be hard to play both roles, it is so rewarding!”

Holyoke homeschooling mom, Myanna Carbin-O’Brien

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